A person or object that are being done are called the passive voice / form. Today, we will learn how to conjugate from the dictionary form to the passive form.

First, there are two types of passive voice to discuss; positive is when something has happened, and negative for when something has not happened.



Expressing something that happened:


  • ともだちに えいがに さそわれた    I was asked go to the movies by my friend.
  • この家は 100年まえに たてられた    This house was built one hundred years ago.


Group 1: Take the dictionary form “u” off and put “areru”.
When a word ends with “tsu” such as “まつ(matsu)”, take “su” off and put “areru

To read よむ (yomu) → よまれる (yomareru)
  • その本は、おおくの人に よまれた。   The book was read by many people.


To hit うつ (utsu) → うたれる (utareru)
  • ホームランをうたれた。    The player hit a home run.


Group 2: Take the dictionary “ru” off and put “rareru”.

To eat たべる (taberu) → たべられる (taberareru)
  • いもうとに 私のケーキを たべられた。 My cake was eaten by my little sister.


Irregular: くる → こられる
                する → される

  • ともだちに しんやに 家に こられた。    My friend came to my house at midnight.
  • ベッドの うえに、いぬに うんちを された。    My dog pooped on my bed.


As you can tell, the passive voice is used often as past tense.

There are different types of passive voice and I will write about the two major types of them.


1. Directly Passive Voice

When it has the active voice and you can conjugate it to the passive voice.

Using the first example:

ともだちが えいがに さそった。 My friend asked me to go to the movies. Active voice

ともだちに えいがに さそわれた。 I was asked go to the movies by my friend. Passive voice

Another example:

みんな かのじょを すきだ。 Everyone likes her. Active voice

かのじょは みんなに すかれている。 She is liked by everyone. Passive voice


2. Indirectly Passive Voice

When it does not have the active voice but only the passive voice:

かれは つまに さきだたれた。 His wife passed away.

We do not say つまは かれを さきだった.
In that case, the sentence does not have the active voice. It is called indirectly passive voice.

In Japanese, we use the passive voice often. It is easy to conjugate, so please try to learn!



Expressing that something did not happen:

Group 1: Take the dictionary form “u” off and put “arenai”.
When a word ends with “tsu” such as まつ matsu, take “su” off and put “arenai

To listen きく(kiku) → きかれない (kikarenai)
  • だれにも きかれなかった。    Nobody heard.


To hit うつ (utsu) → うたれない (utarenai)
  • 大きな なみに うたれなかった。    I was not hit by the big wave.


Group 2: Take a dictionary “ru” off and put “rarenai

To see みる (miru) → みられない (mirarenai
  • せんせいに カンニングを みられなかった。    My teacher did not see me while I was cheating.


Irregular: くる → こられない      
               する → されない



Group 1 (also known as u-dropping verbs)

Positive present tense →   areru
Positive past tense  →   areta
Negative present tense → arenai
Negative past tense →      arenakatta
When the verb ends with tsu, drop su and put areru


Group 2 (also known as ru-dropping verbs)

Positive present tense → rareru
Positive past tense → rareta
Negative present tense → rarenai
Negative past tense → rarenakatta


Irregular (also known as group 3)

  • Positive present tense → こられる
  • される Positive past tense → こられた
  • された Negative present tense → こられない
  • されない Negative past tense → こられなかった・されなかった